NMLS test prep - NMLS practice test

NMLS Test Prep – 1,000 NMLS Practice Test Questions

Once SAFE MLO Exam Prep has thoroughly prepared you to successfully tackle the NMLS licensing exam, it’s time to schedule your exam.  To do so, the test candidate should visit the NMLS’ Testing page located at:


and can pay for it, and schedule their examination. On the day of their MLO license test, the test candidate will sign in at the testing center by providing a valid, government-issued photo identification bearing a picture that closely resembles them.  Nothing may be carried in with the test taker aside from any medication that they may require and their identification.  Lockers will be provided for anything else that the test taker possesses, and the testing center will provide any supplemental material necessary for the student to complete their exam (calculator, writing implements, note paper, etc.).  The test candidate will be escorted into the testing area where he will have three hours to complete 125 multiple-choice questions.  When the test taker completes and submits his exam, he will immediately learn his test results.  To pass the exam, the test taker will have to achieve a grade of 75% or higher.

The 125 questions contained within the NMLS Mortgage Loan Officer test encompass five topics:

  • Federal Mortgage-Related Laws (23%)
  • General Mortgage Knowledge (23%)
  • Mortgage Loan Origination Activities (25%)
  • Ethics (16%)
  • Uniform State Content (13%)

The test questions will not, however, be presented in categories.  The test might begin with a question on Ethics followed by three on Federal Mortgage Law followed by one on Ethics followed by one on USC.  The test candidate should be thoroughly familiar with all five subject areas prior to sitting for his exam.

Each multiple-choice test question will generally contain one answer option representing the best possible option (the correct answer), an answer option that may be correct but, for various reasons, is not as good as the actual correct answer, a “tricky” answer option, and an answer option that doesn’t belong.  The test taker’s goal is to choose the best possible answer to each question.

Of the 125 NMLS test questions and answers, ten count neither towards the test taker’s grade or against it.  The NMLS’ purpose for including ten “test” test questions that do not count for or against the test taker’s grade is so that they can decide whether to include that question as a “live” question on a future exam.  Test takers should treat all test questions as “live” questions since there is no way to detect or identify a “test” test question.

If a test candidate fails the NMLS license test, he may take it a second time.  He will, however, be required to pay for another attempt at the mortgage test and wait 30 days.  If the licensing candidate fails the loan officer test a second time, he may take it again.  Once again, however, he will have to pay for it and wait another 30 days.  If, after a third attempt, the licensing candidate again fails the SAFE MLO exam, a fourth attempt will require another payment as well as a six-month wait.

Submitting Authorization Allowing the NMLS to Obtain a Current Credit Report

Once the preliminary education has been completed and the mortgage license test successfully passed, the licensing candidate is free to apply for his license.  To do so, an application must be submitted through the NMLS’ website utilizing form MU4.  In filing this form, the license applicant must submit the cost of and authorization for the NMLS to secure a credit report to assess the quality of the applicant’s financial condition.  Be sure to review the individual state requirements to identify possible considerations that may prevent that state from issuing a license due to adverse credit circumstances.

Submitting Fingerprints and Authorization Allowing the NMLS to Conduct a Criminal Background Check

When filing the MU4 form, the license applicant must also submit finger prints along with the cost of and authorization for the NMLS to secure a criminal background check.  Be sure to check the individual state requirements to identify possible circumstances that may prevent a state from issuing a license due to previous criminal convictions.

Applying for the License Through the NMLS’ Website Using Form MU4 for Each State or Possession from Which a License is Desired

All licenses are applied for by submitting form MU4 through the NMLS’ website.

Once a state issues a Mortgage Loan Originator license, the licensee will be eligible to originate mortgage loans securing properties located in that state.  If the license is issued to an applicant who is unemployed, however, his license will be issued in an “inactive” status and may only be activated once the mortgage professional secures active employment through a licensed entity.  No mortgage loan originator may originate mortgage loans while his license is inactive.

Additionally, a mortgage loan originator may only originate mortgage loans on properties located within the state in which he is licensed.  If, for example, a Nevada-licensed mortgage loan originator lived in California right along the Nevada-California state line, he would not be permitted to originate mortgages on properties located in California unless he first secured a California mortgage loan originator license.

Mortgage loan originator licenses expire annually and must be renewed on or prior to December 31st of each year.  If a mortgage loan originator fails to renew his license by December 31st, he would be unable to originate any more loans or continue working on any files that would otherwise require licensure until such time that he renewed his license.  Although passing another loan originator exam is not required to renew one’s license, several states require the review of a current credit report and all states require the completion of a minimum of eight hours of NMLS-approved continuing education.  Some states require additional state-specific continuing education in addition to the standard eight hours.  Be certain to review the state-specific education requirements for the state(s) in which you will seek to renew your license(s).

Preparing for the NMLS Exam

As previously discussed, less than 50% of those attempting to pass the NMLS National Licensing Examination ever successfully do so. The key to ensuring success is thorough mortgage loan originator exam prep utilizing the following tools and strategies.

Study, Study, Study

The bottom line is that candidates preparing to tackle the national mortgage test need to study well beyond their 20-hour preliminary licensing education course.  As previously mentioned, the 20-hour preliminary licensing courses often fall short of adequately covering the topics upon which the test candidate may expect to be tested.  As such, additional study coupled with quality NMLS test prep is essential to positioning the licensing candidate for success.

The most effective way to prepare for the NMLS exam is to utilize the NMLS national test study guide offered through the NMLS’ website.  This NMLS Test Content Outline, found through


itemizes the various subject matter upon which the national preliminary education courses are created and the NMLS national exam is based.  This NMLS Content Outline should be used as a checklist and loan officer test study guide through which the test candidate can systematically progress, mastering all listed topics until fluent.  One proven study method for achieving mastery is the creation and use of NMLS exam flashcards.

Another effective means by which successful test candidates can prepare themselves for the examination is by taking multiple NMLS practice exams.  NMLS practice tests afford test candidates valuable SAFE MLO test prep by utilizing the subject matter and mortgage loan originator test sample concepts described through the previously-mentioned NMLS Test Content Outline. Ideally, test candidates should plan on completing multiple practices exams since completing only one NMLS practice test may not accurately represent test readiness.  Although candidates may be able to access an NMLS free practice test through an Internet search, many tests that provide NMLS practice questions free are outdated and lack sufficient relevance and quality.  SAFE MLO Exam Prep’s NMLS test prep program offers NMLS exam candidates current and applicable NMLS exam practice questions representative of the type of NMLS practice test 2017 and 2018 relevant questions that test takers are likely to encounter during their exam.  While serious test candidates should scrutinize and be wary of any free NMLS practice test upon which they may stumble, SAFE MLO Exam Prep clients rest assured knowing that any mortgage practice test that they complete through SAFE MLO Exam Prep strictly conforms to the SAFE exam study guide.  Additionally, SAFE MLO Exam Prep’s mortgage loan originator practice test incorporates all five test content areas of the mortgage study guide.  When you’re a client of SAFE MLO Exam Prep, there’s no need to purchase a separate UST practice test to master the uniform state test content.

Although it would be irresponsible to designate a specific time frame constituting adequate NMLS exam prep, repeatedly scoring a grade of between 90% – 95% or higher on SAFE MLO Exam Prep’s loan officer practice test may indicate that the candidate is approaching test-taking readiness.

While dedicated studying utilizing the SAFE MLO practice test is critical to appropriate SAFE mortgage loan originator test prep, studying, as the only test prep strategy, is not enough.  The following test-preparation and test-taking tips will prove helpful to your ultimate success:

Be Well Rested

Individuals who have taken the NMLS national exam generally agree that the test questions presented through the exam are tricky.  Knowing the material, although critical, is not enough.  When you eventually sit for this exam, you should be well rested and clear minded to maximize your chances of not being tricked into incorrectly answering a question.

Give Yourself the Full Three Hours

Although you may not need the full three hours, approach your exam schedule anticipating that you will.  It is better to finish early than suffocate under the pressure as the clock approaches the time when you planned on finishing while you still have more questions to answer.

Read Every Question and Answer Multiple Times

One way to minimize the chances of misinterpreting a test question is to read every test question and answer several times prior to answering.  In re-reading the question, you may discover something that you read incorrectly the first time.

Answer All Questions

Never leave a question blank.  If you do so, you have a 100% chance of getting it wrong.  Even if you don’t know the answer, at the very least guess!  If you guess, you have a 25% chance of getting the question right.

Use Process of Elimination

Test takers who do not know the answer to a test question will significantly improve their odds of correctly guessing the answer if they can eliminate one or more possible answer options.  In fact, if you’ve used the process of elimination to eliminate three incorrect answer options, you’ve correctly answered the question!

There’s Only One Best Possible Answer

Each question contains four possible answers; only one of them is correct.  One may be close but not as good as the best possible answer.  One may be tricky intending to lure you into incorrectly answering the question, and one may have little to do with the question being asked.  For this reason, it is critical to read every question and every answer multiple times before answering.

No Correct Answer

Should you encounter a question for which you’re certain that none of the answers are correct, do not panic!  Assume that the question is one of those “test” test questions, answer it to the best of your ability, and move on.

Study for Understanding Not Just Knowledge

When preparing for your exam, be certain to study for comprehension and not just knowledge.  Know how mortgage concepts and process work and blend together.  Study to learn more than just the facts.

Overstuffed Need Not Bloat You

If you happen to be asked a question that appears overwhelming at first glance, do not panic.  Sometimes questions will contain lots of extraneous details bearing little-to-no relevance to the question being asked.

Use the Tutorial

All exams begin with a tutorial.  Be sure to take the time to go through the tutorial as it often provides important information that you will need to know to successfully navigate through your exam.

SAFE MLO Exam Prep prides itself on effectively preparing test candidates for success in passing the NMLS test! Start Now and you will receive 1,000 NMLS practice test questions, study videos, flashcards, and reliable support from a licensed NMLS instructor!

NMLS test prep - NMLS practice test

How To Become A Loan Officer – The Licensing Process

Applying for a mortgage loan originator’s license involves a process that includes:

  • Registering through the NMLS’ website and securing one’s NMLS unique identifier
  • Completing the 20-hour preliminary licensing education course
  • Taking advantage of additional but optional mortgage exam preparation through a quality NMLS national test preparer such as SAFE MLO Exam Prep
  • Passing the 125-question national mortgage loan originator licensing exam
  • Submitting authorization allowing the NMLS to obtain a current credit report
  • Submitting fingerprints and authorization allowing the NMLS to conduct a criminal background check
  • Applying for the license through the NMLS’ website using form MU4 for each state or possession from which a license is desired
  • Registering Through the NMLS’ Website and Securing One’s NMLS Unique Identifier
  • Securing an NMLS number is free and easily accomplished by creating an individual NMLS account through the NMLS’ log-in portal located at:


If the individual works for a depository institution regulated by a federal banking regulator, all he is required to do is to register through the NMLS by establishing an account and securing his unique identifier.  An individual working for a non-depository institution must secure his unique identifier in addition to pursuing his MLO license(s).

Completing the 20-Hour Preliminary Licensing Education

All mortgage licensing candidates must satisfy the specific education requirements established by each state.  All states require the completion of the standard 20-hour preliminary licensing course conducted through an NMLS-approved loan originator test education provider.  These providers may be located through the NMLS’ website at:


Additionally, various states require additional, NMLS SAFE, state-specific education incorporated into or in addition to the 20-hour preliminary education course.  To determine the education requirements pertaining to the specific state(s) from which you may desire licensure, please reference the NMLS’ state-specific education chart at:


Taking Advantage of Additional but Optional Mortgage Exam Preparation Through a Quality NMLS National Test Preparer Such as SAFE MLO Exam Prep

Unfortunately, the process of preparing for the NMLS national examination is not ideal.  According to the NMLS, the SAFE MLO test attempts occurring between July 1, 2016 and June 31, 2018 resulted in only 54% of those attempting to pass the NMLS exam doing so.[1]  One possible reason for the 46% failure rate is because the 20-hour national course crams roughly 80 hours’ worth of content into 17.5 hour sof actual instruction (2.5 hours are allotted for breaks).  NMLS instructors must often resort to one of two options: they can race through the material barely scratching the topic’s surface while addressing few questions, if any,in order to cover everything listed on the course’s syllabus.  This, however, generally produces extremely confused and frustrated students.  On the other hand, instructors can devote the appropriate time and attention needed to achieve adequate understanding, but only finish 30-40% of the material listed on the course syllabus.  Consequently, test candidates are often left confused and struggling to adequately understand exactly what they need to understand in order to pass the exam.By the way, there is no specific mortgage lender test or mortgage broker test; only one national SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator test.

By adhering to the MLO study guide/NMLS study guide provided through SAFE MLO Exam Prep’s one-on-one individualized NMLS SAFE exam tutoring in conjunction with effective MLO test preparation provided through SAFE MLO Exam Prep’s numerous SAFE exam practice tests, each student receives the opportunity to accurately assess his knowledge of and appropriately prepare for the topics presented through the MLO test questions appearing on the national exam.  SAFE MLO Exam Prep is one of the industry’s prominent mortgage loan originator test prep providers helping NMLS test candidates successfully and correctly answer their SAFE exam questions.

[1] NMLS SAFE Mortgage Loan Originator Test Pass Rates, July 13, 2018, https://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/profreq/testing/Documents/SAFE%20MLO%20Test%20Pass%20Rate%20Announcement.pdf

NMLS test prep - NMLS practice test

What Is The NMLS – Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry

NMLS History & Background

I remember landing my first mortgage job as a Mortgage Customer Service Representative for a large bank in Buffalo, New York. The year was 1996 and, even though I had no previous mortgage or banking experience, the bank liked me and offered me the position. Admittedly, I was quite excited. I had just left the Emergency Medical Services for something different and this bank was going to teach me everything that I needed to know to become a steely-eyed mortgage star. Or so I thought.

I arrived for work on my first day expecting to be ushered into a formal training program through which I would be taught all that I needed to know. Much to my surprise, however, my entire training experience consisted of listening to a customer service representative answer customer calls for three days after which I was live talking to customers. Quite a surprise and even more of a shock. But that was the mortgage industry back then. Rules and regulations were sporadically enforced, rarely taught, and most mortgage training consisted of a “hands-on”, “learn-as-you-go” experience. And we all know where that eventually led us.

As a 2008 response to the mortgage industry crisis plaguing the country, and, to some extent, the world, the United States Congress enacted the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) as a means of healing the economy and bringing accountability to an industry that, up until then, had little-to-none. Title Five of HERA established the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act).

The SAFE Act finally injected accountability into a previously-chaotic industry where mortgage professionals were concerned more about getting paid than looking out for their customers’ best interests. Through the SAFE Act, authority was issued to a centralized, national oversight system responsible for the licensing of non-depository mortgage loan originators, lenders, and brokers. This oversight system, known as the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS), was created through collaboration between the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the American Association of Residential Mortgage Regulators (AARMR). The NMLS commenced operations on January 1, 2008 and is owned and operated by the State Regulatory Registry (SRR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CSBS.

The NMLS is the sole system that oversees mortgage professional registration and licensing for every state and U.S. possession. The NMLS oversees registration for any individual seeking to originate mortgages securing properties located in any U.S. state, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam and also oversees licensing for non-depository professionals in those jurisdictions. In addition to mortgage loan originators, the NMLS oversees the licensing of mortgage lenders, brokerages, money service businesses, debt management companies including debt collectors, and consumer finance entities.For the purposes of this article, however, I will focus solely on individual mortgage loan originators.

To effectuate NMLS policies, the SRR Board of Managers formalized the NMLS Policy Committee, comprised of 11 state financial service regulators. All administrative decisions are made after considering input from participating state agencies, licensees, and the industry overall. The NMLS Policy Committee addresses the following types of issues:

• Regulatory policies that govern the NMLS
• NMLS development decisions
• Prioritization of NMLS functionality
• NMLS public comments
• Suppression requests concerning NMLS consumer access

Although individuals and entities seeking licensure ultimately do so through each individual state or possession from which they desire to secure a license, doing so is conducted solely through the NMLS system. Individual state licensing requirements may be found at:


In addition to facilitating the licensing of the aforementioned professionals and organizations, the NMLS is also responsible for documenting, retaining records of, and reporting licensing status conditions of the individuals and entities that it oversees to the public. Through the NMLS’ Consumer Access Portal, located at http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org, any member of the public can ascertain the registration status, licensing status, and/or disciplinary records of any registered or licensed mortgage industry participant.

Individual, Depository Institution

Anyone desiring to originate mortgage loans securing properties located throughout the United States, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam, at the very least, must be registered through the NMLS system and possess an NMLS number also referred to as a “unique identifier.”An individual working for an exempt entity is not required to secure a mortgage loan originator license. Depository institutions are exempt entities.

Individual, Non-Depository Institution

If an individual desires to originate mortgage loans for a non-depository mortgage lender or broker, in addition to registering through the NMLS and securing their unique identifier, he must also secure a license through each state or possession in which he desires to operate. Although the NML centralizes the process of applying for one’s mortgage loan originator license, the licenses themselves are issued by each state or territory in accordance with its individual licensing parameters and criteria.

Visit SAFE MLO Exam Prep to Pass The NMLS Exam!

[1] Website, 2018, NMLS Resource Center, About NMLS, System Governance https://mortgage.nationwidelicensingsystem.org/about/Pages/default.aspx

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